Scale up production capacity, govt will provide all possible help: PM to vaccine manufacturers

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New Delhi, Apr 20 (PTI) Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday urged vaccine manufacturers to continuously scale up their production capacity to inoculate all Indians in the shortest possible time.

Interacting with vaccine manufacturers from across the country via video conferencing, Modi said the private sector will play an even more active role in the vaccination drive in the coming days and that this will require better coordination between hospitals and the industry.

He also assured all possible support and smooth approval process for the vaccine candidates which are currently under trial phase.

The health infrastructure of our private sector has played a big role in the country's fight against COVID-19, he said.

According to a statement from the PMO, Modi noted that the government has now allowed vaccination for every adult starting from May 1 as it believes in the ability of vaccine makers.

The prime minister credited the manufacturers for developing and producing vaccines in a record time and noted that the vaccines developed are the cheapest, with India undertaking the world's largest inoculation programme.

He also appreciated the efforts and studies being conducted by Indian scientists in the development of new vaccines.

Modi said the biggest strengths of the Indian vaccine industry are its 'Samarthya, Sansadhan and Seva Bhaav' (capability, resource and spirit of service) and these are what makes them a vaccine leader in the world.

He said that throughout the process of developing and manufacturing vaccines, the country has constantly worked with the spirit of public-private partnership under the 'Mission Covid Suraksha', and created an end-to-end vaccine development ecosystem.

'The government ensured that all the vaccine manufacturers not only get all possible help and logistic support, but also the process of vaccine approval is speedy and scientific,' Modi said.

The vaccine manufacturers thanked him for the government's decision of allowing vaccination for everyone above the age of 18 and various steps taken to give more incentives and flexibility, the statement said.

They also appreciated the prime minister's leadership for the support they have received from the government of India throughout the process of vaccine development and production.

They also discussed their plans to ramp up production, upcoming vaccine candidates and research on the new variants, the statement said.

India has nearly 30 vaccine candidates at different stages of development.

The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) had in January given the emergency use authorisation for two COVID-19 vaccines -- Covaxin of Bharat Biotech and Covishield of Oxford-AstraZeneca manufactured by Serum Institute of India in Pune. Earlier this month, the DCGI also gave approval to Russian vaccine Sputnik V.

Indigenous vaccine candidates of Zydus Cadila, Biological E and Gennova are also in the pipeline and are in advanced clinical trials in India.

Last week, the Department of Biotechnology also expedited efforts to ramp up the production of indigenously developed COVID-19 vaccine Covaxin and increase it to 10 crore doses per month by September.

Covaxin's production will be doubled by May-June and the department has roped in three public sector companies.

They are Haffkine Biopharmaceutical Corporation Ltd, Mumbai, a public sector undertaking (PSU) under the Maharashtra government; Indian Immunologicals Limited (IIL), Hyderabad, a facility under National Dairy Development Board; and Bharat Immunologicals and Biologicals Limited, Bulandshahr, a PSU of the Department of Biotechnology.

'The current production capacity of indigenously developed Covaxin will be doubled by May-June 2021 and then increased nearly 6-7 fold by July-August 2021 i.e. increasing the production from 1 crore vaccine doses in April, 2021 to 6-7 crore vaccine dose/month in July-August. It is expected to reach nearly 10 crore doses per month by September 2021,” the DBT said. PTI KR BJ PR SMN SMN